We can focus on one of the two blocks, insofar as the urban planning concepts were quite similar in both. The town planners decided that block 23 would contain apartment buildings of four, ten, and sixteen stories. The range of building heights was intended to create variety in an otherwise flat landscape. Glavicki and his team included the four-story buildings to palliate the large scale of the other buildings and create an effect of intimacy for pedestrians. A variety of apartment sizes was included in each building, while one tower was dedicated as a bachelors’ hotel. The site plan went so far as to specify that gar-bage disposal, carpet beating, and the washing and drying of laundry should all take place inside the buildings. The ground floors of the ten- and sixteen-story buildings were designated for uses other than apartments, while in all buildings the top floors were set aside for recreational and storage purposes. The ground floor of some of the buildings would host stores. Thus, two buildings in block 23 would contain a store selling bread, milk, and dairy products; a fruit and vegetable store; a tobacconist; a newspaper shop; and a phone booth.39
Block 23 would be equipped with an elementary school, two kindergartens, and two child care facilities. A large children’s playground was planned in the center of the block, in the sunniest location, and would be supplemented with a number of smaller playgrounds. The rest of the green space would be embellished by high-quality landscaping, fountains, sculptures, drinking foun-tains, and pools. In accordance with its definition as a local community, it was equipped with a center that would include a mini-post office, an admin-istrative office, two meeting halls, six to nine offices for social organizations, and a reading room with a lending library. The center would also contain a store selling bread, milk, and milk products; a fruit and vegetable shop; a self-service market; a tobacconist; a newspaper vendor; a hairdresser; a tailor; a cobbler; an electronics repair shop; a laundry and dry-cleaning service; a maintenance office; and two local community service offices, as well as a restaurant, an express restaurant, and a coffee-pastry shop. The detailed site
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The detailed site plan was presented to the Urbanism Council in July of that year and obtained its full approval. Even the powerful organ responsible for building housing for the military (Direkcija za izgradnje gradjevinska objekata Drzavnog sekretarijata za narodnu odbranu), the investor that had obtained the right to develop this site and many others in New Belgrade, was not able to sway the council to make changes. It had made and been denied a request to increase the population density and height of the buildings on both blocks by one or two floors.41 This failure is noteworthy, considering town planners’ frequent complaint that investors were constantly undermining their plans.
In the spring of 1968, the investor held a competition to design the various buildings on each block on the basis of the site plan. It received fewer submissions than anticipated—a total of fourteen—but they were judged to be of high quality. The first-place prize was awarded to the authors of one project for block 22, but no entries for block 23 were judged to be worthy of that honor.
Home Design 4.11. Present-day block 23, showing the four towers and slab apartment complex. Note the somewhat less polished appearance of the final product, in comparison to the winning design. Courtesy of Jonathan Davis, Creative Commons license.
However, one of the two projects that were awarded a second-place prize was selected for realization. The projects selected for each block were judged according to their fulfillment of the requirements of the detailed site plan, the aesthetic and functional qualities of the buildings and other elements, and the suitability of the apartments to modern living.42